16 Must-Have Tools & Notions for Beginner DIYers
It’s easy to get excited about starting a new DIY project. But it can feel overwhelming too — especially if you’re completely new to sewing. Never fear! At Sailrite®, we know a thing or two about sewing tools and equipment, so we made a list of the 16 best DIY tools for beginners. If you’re not sure what you’ll need to start sewing, then these recommendations are for you.
Sewing Essentials for Beginners
A tape measure is a convenient way to measure just about anything. These tapes are flexible and easy to wrap around different items to get accurate measurements. The travel-friendly tapes have easy-to-read numbers and measurement markings, and they roll up into a compact size for effortless storage. Sailrite offers both 60-inch and 120-inch flexible tape measures to suit all your DIY needs.
Clear Acrylic Ruler
This versatile ruler can team up with a marking tool to scribe accurate lines in multiple angles on your material. It also acts as a straight edge for a rotary cutter, helping you get clean cuts every single time. The clear acrylic makes it easy to see your material and line the ruler up wherever you need it. And with measurement scales on all four edges, this ruler is perfect for right- and left-handed DIYers alike.
Sailrite® Canvas Patterning Ruler
This Sailrite-exclusive multiuse tool is a real gem, and it’s not just for canvas! This 8-inch acrylic ruler has holes every 1/4 inch for drawing perfect circles in different sizes. You can also draw curves or straight lines a set distance away from the edge of your material, thanks to the lipped metal end that holds the ruler against the material edge without slipping or moving. And when you press the metal end along a hem or crease, you can create sharp folds.
Marking Tools Variety Package
During a sewing project, you’ll need to measure and mark your material. That can include tracing shapes, marking hemming and cutting lines, and making other notes right on your material. Marks like these shouldn’t be permanent, so you’ll need something temporary to write with. These specialized marking tools allow you to make those temporary marks — and then wipe or wash them right off. This set of 11 tools includes tailor’s chalk, grease marking pencils, a fabric marker and more for use on a huge variety of materials. Just make sure to use the tool that’s right for your material.
Sometimes, you need to redo some work. Maybe a seam doesn’t turn out straight, or you stitch the wrong panels together accidentally. We've all been there! A seam ripper makes it easy to remove unwanted stitches. This handheld tool has a tiny blade that cuts seams without damaging your fabric. You can also use one to open a finished zipper assembly. Seam rippers come in a variety of handle and blade sizes, so you’re sure to find one that feels right in your hand.
Thread snips are used to trim threads after sewing. Also called thread nippers, these simple tools are usually spring-loaded, making them easier to use than traditional scissors. These ambidextrous snips are suited for work in tight spaces, such as around your sewing machine’s presser foot or close to seams on a finished sewing project. You can also easily store them in a tool kit or sewing basket thanks to their compact size.
Gingher® 8-Inch Scissors
Gingher® makes some of the best sewing shears on the market. These all-metal scissors are precisely engineered to cut fabric, including multilayer assemblies and thick synthetic fabrics. Gingher offers left- and right-handed shears. With the right care and maintenance — including proper resharpening — these scissors will last for years.
Rotary Cutter & Mat
You can’t DIY without this dynamic duo. A rotary cutter features a circular blade that lets you cut long runs of material in one go. Some rotary cutters have a safety cover for the blade that minimizes injury risk. Plus, these cutters can be used by both right- and left-handed crafters — a big advantage over scissors, which usually aren’t ambidextrous. Grab a rotary cutter for fabric, paper, vinyl and more. In addition, you need a cutting mat to protect your work surface from the rotary blade. Flexible cutting mats are soft and won’t dull the blade like a hard cutting board would, extending the life of the blade.
Multiuse Pins (Straight Pins)
Simple and functional, multiuse pins (also called straight pins) are a common way to hold seams, hems and thick fabric assemblies together before sewing. They can also hold patterning paper on your materials for more accurate measurements and cuts. The colored tops that most pins come with make them easy to see in your project too. Multiuse pins aren’t for every material, however; they will leave permanent holes in materials such as leather, waxed canvas and vinyl.
Pincushion or Magnetic Pin Dish
A pincushion or magnetic pin dish is a must-have accessory for multiuse pins. A pincushion is a stuffed fabric piece, while a magnetic pin dish is just that — a small dish with a powerful magnet inside. They’re designed to keep your pins secure and out of the way when you’re not using them. As a bonus, the pin dish makes cleaning up spilled pins easy and worry-free.
If you’re looking for an alternative to multiuse pins that won’t leave permanent holes in tougher materials, look no further than fabric clips. These plastic and metal clips hold hems and fabric assemblies together before sewing — but they won’t leave unfixable holes in leather, vinyl, window material, waxed canvas and other nonwoven materials like pins would. They come in a variety of sizes for fabrics of different thicknesses and textures, so there’s a clip for whatever material you’re using. As an added bonus, these clips don’t have sharp points that could cause injury, making them a kid-friendly alternative to multiuse pins.
Basting tape is another option for holding hems, seams and fabric assemblies together before sewing. It’s double-sided, so a single piece of tape can hold two layers of fabric together. This ensures that your sewing machine will feed your fabric assembly evenly and turn out straight seams. Basting tape isn’t just for straight seams, though — it can help fabric take a curve for easier sewing around corners or arcs. An additional perk is that it helps make seams water-resistant. There are different types of basting tape for use on different materials, so make sure to choose the correct tape for your project.
Assorted Hand Sewing Needles (7 pack)
We recommend a set of hand sewing needles for every DIYer. This seven-pack of needles has options for canvas, leather, upholstery and more. You’ll find straight and curved needles in a variety of sizes — so you’ll always have the right needle to make a quick fix or finish a project without setting up your sewing machine.
A thimble makes hand sewing pain-free. Choose between a solid metal thimble or a leather thimble to protect your fingertips from pressure when you’re sewing by hand. Thimbles are small and portable, so you can always have one on hand (pun intended) whenever you need it.
Sailrite® Battery-Operated Thread Burner
Forget tucking in loose thread ends with a needle or melting them with a lighter. This handheld thread burner is much more effective at sealing synthetic threads because the precision tip applies heat directly where you need it. Just melt your thread end down, press the melted end into the fabric and you’re done! The integrated safety trigger ensures that the tip only heats when you’re using the burner.
Having trouble deciding which notions to buy? In that case, check out our selection of premade sewing kits. A sewing kit will contain most of the basic notions and supplies that a DIY beginner needs. It's also a great gift idea for the new sewer in your life. Plus, some sewing kits come in a compact carrying case to keep the notions together and ready for travel if needed.
Sailrite has all these items, and more, to help you on your way to DIY mastery. If you’re ready to dive in, click here to start shopping for the best sewing supplies for beginners.
Still have questions about what you need to start sewing? No problem! Leave a comment down below. You can also reach out to our friendly Customer Support team via phone, email or chat.